March 8, 2020

All-women controllers direct Air Canada’s all-women flight crew from YYZ to YEG

NAV CANADA and Air Canada celebrated women in aviation with a flight flown and guided entirely by women. Air Canada flight 167 took off from Toronto on March 5, 2020, enroute to Edmonton with an all-women flight crew onboard the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. An all-women constellation of NAV CANADA terminal and tower air traffic controllers guided the aircraft from takeoff to landing.


Air Canada flight 167 began its journey around noon at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport. A round of cheers and applause came from the passengers at the gate prior to boarding when it was announced that the entire crew and air traffic control were women.

After boarding, the aircraft was directed on the taxiways and cleared for take off by Melissa Nowogrodzki at NAV CANADA’s Toronto air traffic control tower. From there, the flight began its journey across three flight information regions: Toronto, Winnipeg and Edmonton, respectively. More than ten female air traffic controllers guided the flight from sector-to-sector during its 2,760 kilometre journey. Behind the scenes, other women helped with flight operations, flight planning and other aspects of air traffic services.

After the nearly four-hour flight landed at YEG, the aircraft was met by all-female airport staff to guide the aircraft to the gate, completing what is being called a historic flight.

Melanie Collins, a controller at Edmonton Air Traffic Control Tower, had a hand in the flight. “It’s nice to see that there’s a lot more women involved in aviation, it’s kind of a momentous thing,” she exclaimed. “It’s a big deal because it doesn’t happen regularly, so it’s neat to be a part of it and to see it being recognized.”

AC167 aircraft target on a surveillance displace screen


Collins has been an air traffic controller at NAV CANADA for more than a decade, and while noticing more women following her career path, she’s hoping that the trend continues to grow. Events like this are important, especially to raise awareness amongst young women so they know they can pursue a career in aviation.

This is one of the reasons why NAV CANADA is a proud supporter of Elevate Aviation – a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing gender diversity in the aviation industry. Visit the Elevate Aviation website to learn more about the opportunities available to help women thrive and succeed through aviation.

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